At least 19 people, nine of them children, have died and dozens are hospitalized in critical condition following a “horrific” apartment complex fire in the Bronx, New York City officials said Sunday.
Nineteen people died in the fire, Stefan Ringel, a senior adviser to Mayor Eric Adams, told BuzzFeed News, and Adams told CNN that nine of the deaths were children. BuzzFeed News has reached out to the Fire Department of New York for more information.
FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said in a press conference earlier Sunday that the fire broke out in a 19-story building called Twin Park apartments on East 181st Street at approximately 11 a.m. Officials have yet to determine a cause, but Nigro said that the door was open in the unit where the fire started, allowing the blaze and smoke to spread.
The fire was classified a five-alarm fire, the most serious and dangerous category of blazes. Nigro said that more than 200 firefighters responded to the scene within minutes of the fire being reported.
At the time, the fire commissioner confirmed 63 injuries, 32 of which required hospitalization.
“This fire took its toll on the city,” he said
Nigro added that given the number of people with serious injuries, the blaze was “unprecedented in our city.” Firefighters “found victims on every floor” in cardiac and respiratory distress due to smoke inhalation, he said.
Newly-elected Adams described the fire as “a horrific, horrific painful moment.”
“The impact of this fire is going to really bring a level of pain and despair in this city,” Adams told the press. “This is going to be one of the worst fires we have witnessed in the city of New York in modern times.”
The Bronx fire comes mere days after a fire at a Philadelphia apartment building, which killed 12 people, eight of whom were children. The cause of that blaze remains under investigation, but the Philadelphia Inquirer reported authorities believe a 5-year-old playing with a lighter set a Christmas tree on fire.
BuzzFeed News reporter Kadia Goba contributed to this report.